As kratom becomes more popular in the U.S., it’s only natural for users to ask certain questions about its use. Is kratom considered a legal substance? Can you get a DUI on kratom? Could you get arrested? Today, we’re going to take a look at some of these driving-related questions. But remember: this guide is for informational purposes only! In no way do we condone driving under the influence. If you feel unfit to drive, do not drive.
Is Kratom and Driving Legal?
The U.S. government – including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – has yet to define kratom. The substance derives from the mitragyna speciosa tree, native to various parts of Southeast Asia, and has only risen to prominence in the U.S. within the last decade or so.
When discussing kratom and driving, it’s important to remember that kratom is a legal substance in all but six states. If you live in one of these six states, kratom and driving is unquestionably illegal:
- Rhode Island
Additionally, just because kratom is legal in your state does not mean you should drive after ingesting it. Many users have reported mildly intoxicating side effects. Intoxication, no matter the source, can be considered grounds for a DUI charge, but we’ll get more into that in a moment.
Is There a Legal Limit for Kratom & Driving?
The short answer? No. Kratom is not yet a controlled substance nor subject to the driving laws that encompass prescription drugs. Furthermore, kratom does not show up on any known drug tests: blood tests, mouth swabs, urine tests, and more. As such, there would be no way to distinguish the legal amount of kratom that a user could drive on.
So Can You Get a DUI on Kratom?
Probably not. Police drug tests cannot yet test for kratom in your system. However, the answer to the question can you get a DUI on kratom is not as clear-cut as you may think. Kratom is a legal substance, and as such, there is no set level at which a person is “impaired,” according to the law. Every state enforces different laws for both intoxication and driving. Even when it comes to a DUI, you might see different legal language depending on where you live:
- DUI: “driving under the influence”
- DWI: “driving while intoxicated”
- OWI: “operating while impaired”
However, in all states, a DUI offense breaks down into two basic components:
- Is the offender physically operating a vehicle?
- Is the offender under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
This is where the question – can you get a DUI on kratom – gets difficult. Kratom is a legal substance but is not yet considered a controlled substance nor a “drug.” When driving under the influence of prescription drugs, for example, police officers have the means to test for such substances in your system. The same goes for alcohol, marijuana, and just about any other substance you can think of.
Because kratom does not appear on a blood test (the most notoriously powerful drug test), officers may not know if an offender is actually “under the influence.” Instead, the offender may be charged with reckless driving or reckless endangerment instead of a DUI.
As we mentioned, this guide is for information purposes only! Just because you might not get charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of kratom, you should never operate a vehicle if you feel intoxicated or unsafe to drive.
Could You Get Arrested for Driving on Kratom?
Once again, these are difficult questions to answer. Kratom is a relatively new substance in the U.S., meaning questions like these have never been answered. However, any driver can be arrested for dangerous driving. If you’re a danger on the road, you can get arrested. It doesn’t matter if you’re under the influence or not.
Don’t Drive If You Feel Unfit to Do So!
Ten Thousand people die each year from drunk driving-related incidents, alcohol the biggest proponent of DUI-related arrests. You should never drive under the influence, no matter the substance. If you feel intoxicating side effects after ingesting kratom, keep your keys out of your hand! Kratom offers benefits to many users but it should never be taken in an unsafe manner.
Always stay up-to-date on kratom legality and other news, so you know what’s right and wrong in the world of kratom. If you ever have questions about kratom, you can also reach out to the American Kratom Association (AKA), who offer various guides on your pressing, kratom-related questions.